We’ve talked this month about Homelessness in Northwest Arkansas.  At the beginning of the month, I shared some stats that came from the 2015 Homelessness Report.

What resources are there for the homeless in Northwest Arkansas? @bigpittstop #NWArkCares

If I’m about anything as a solution seeker, I’m about that….what’s the solution; what can we do?

I think the first thing is to just drop the stigma.  I think we assume that people who are homeless did something to be in that condition.  And, maybe they did.  But, maybe not.  I think its like any condition that our population faces – sometimes things just happen. So, changing our mindset is where we begin.

Stop and read this article.  Its a great practical list.  Made me stop in my tracks and really opened my eyes to some practical things we can do in every community to change lives, add kindness and bring dignity!

Here are some organizations in Northwest Arkansas doing it well. (Shared with permission from the Fayetteville Community Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas) 

  • LifeSource International

Life Source International is a
non-profit organization located in South Fayetteville. Using a holistic
approach to help individuals and families grow mentally, emotionally, and
spiritually, its goal is to make a difference both now and for generations to
come. Life Source helps to strengthen families of N.W.A. through vocational
training/job placement, life skills training, at risk behavioral workshops,
food distribution and counseling services. The food pantry, toiletries and
diapers are supplied when available. Life source serves Washington, Benton,
Carroll, Madison and Adair Counties. Office hours are Monday through Friday
from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The food pantry hours are Monday, Wednesday and
Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. A Spanish interpreter is available. For
more information, please contact: Ernie Conduff, 600 South School, Suite 2,
Fayetteville, AR 72703, 479.521.4000 ernie@lifesourceinternational.org.

  • South Church 

South Church is a ministry to low-income,
high need people in South Fayetteville and surrounding areas. It serves a meal
each Sunday night to around 125 adults and children and offers a church service
to the homeless and other interested parties. South Church also helps with rent
payment, buying tents and sleeping bags for the homeless during cold weather,
and purchasing prescriptions when the funds are available. For more
information, please contact: John Baker, Pastor – 479.521.5337. 

  • Potter’s House 

Potter’s House is  an outreach to underprivileged children and
their families in South Fayetteville. With 80 children in the program, its
focus is to help these children grow emotionally, and spiritually in God’s Word
through love, mentoring and interaction.

  • Seven Hills 

Seven Hills has worked with the Northwest
Arkansas Housing Coalition, its clients and the public to regularly assess the
needs of the homeless and respond to meet those needs. The Day Center is a
multi-purpose facility.  We provide a
safe, supportive environment where men, women, and children can come to access
resources, and move forward toward jobs, housing, and self-sufficiency Monday
to Friday 8 am to 4:45 pm and the first and third Saturday’s of each month 8 am
to 1 pm.  In effect, we provide emergency
shelter during the day when other shelters do not provide services, filling an
important service gap for our guests. Services provided at Seven Hills Day
Center to men, women, and families include meals, showers, storage lockers,
laundry, clothing, blankets, case management and service referrals, use of telephone
and computers, coffee, newspapers, safe mail drop, transportation, groceries,
crisis counseling, volunteer opportunities, identification and birth
certificate assistance, psychological counseling referrals and assessments,
prescription assistance, day labor opportunities, and job search
assistance. (**update the Day Center has sold and is moving…check their website for updates about this program and its new location**)

Hills Homeless Center serves lunches to 75-100 plus homeless and near homeless
people every Friday and Saturday at 11:30 am. The Friday meal is served at
Seven Hills day center located at 1555 MLK Blvd. On Saturdays the Wiggins
United Methodist Church, 205 MLK Blvd., has graciously opened its fellowship
facility to host our meals. These meals are made possible by Lunch Angels. Our
Lunch Angels are typically groups or organizations that are responsible for a
meal on a given day every month.  We also
have substitute Lunch Angels that are willing to fill in at those times when
the regular Angels are unable to provide the meal. We always welcome new groups
that want the opportunity to provide a meal. If there is not an opening
currently, contact information is taken so that we can reach you when an
opportunity arises. Lunch Angels provide the food, prepare the meal off-site,
deliver it ready to eat and then serve. Seven Hills at times receives food
donations that Lunch Angels may use, as available, in preparing meals. The
groups may either furnish paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware or use
those items donated to and stored at Seven Hills. Melissa Moon at 479-251-7776
or at melissa@7hillscenter.org.

If you don’t live in Northwest Arkansas, there are services like this in your own back yard.  As I’ve mentioned a couple times this month, this is an every-town issue.  If you asked the Guidance Counselor at your kids school, they could name families living in cars.  If you asked the pastor at any local church, they could mention a family who has stopped by and needed help with groceries.  If you talked to the guy who locks up buildings on main street, he could share stories of people he has seen hiding and sleeping in alley ways.

And, if you are confused why it all matters, again let me point you to the 2015 Homeless Census report, the Homeless Shelter Directory and invite you to sit down with Same Kind of Different As Me, a book that changed the way I look at ALL people!  There is a good soul in each of us.  There is light in each of our eyes that wants what is good and right and true.  And we each deserve it!

This post is part of the #NWArkCares series by the
Northwest Arkansas Bloggers group. To view other posts, visit the Northwest
Arkansas Bloggers Pinterest Board or follow #NWArkCares through social media.